NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 6, 2017) – As part of Mayor Megan Barry’s Livable Nashville sustainability effort, a new challenge for local grocers and other food retailers was announced today to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by increasing donations to people in need, along with other strategies offered through the Mayor’s Food-Saver Challenge for Retailers.
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Metro Public Works, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative announced the Challenge this morning at the Rosa Parks Kroger.
Through the Mayor’s Challenge, participating stores are asked to maximize their donations of surplus food to local hunger-relief organizations, as well as track and report the weight of food-donated on a monthly basis. Stores are also being challenged to compost their organics by setting up a separate collection system for food scraps. The Mayor’s Challenge for retailers builds upon the successful Mayor’s Food-Saver Challenge for Restaurants, launched earlier this year.
“Nearly 50 Nashville restaurants showed immense leadership earlier this year on reducing food waste through donations and composting,” says Mayor Barry. “This is highly-reusable material that doesn’t need to end up in landfill: It makes sense to now work with retailers to donate more food to feed hungry people, and compost whatever remains. We hope this Challenge can be a catalyst for change, and bring us closer to making Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast.”
Today the Metro-Nashville Department of Public Works also announced that the public can now drop off their compostable material from home at both the East and Omohundro Convenience Centers. This new service means Davidson County residents will have an opportunity to recycle their food scraps and food-soiled paper through composting. The Department has also just launched a process to develop a “Zero Waste” Master Plan for Davidson County’s solid-waste stream, with opportunities for public involvement forthcoming. A phase-one audit of Metro’s waste stream indicated over a third of landfilled material is comprised of compostable organics.
Kroger is the first retailer to sign on to the Mayor’s Challenge, and recently announced a national Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, aimed at ending hunger in communities and eliminating waste across the company by 2025. At today’s press conference, Kroger announced $15,000 in donations to three local nonprofits: a $10,000 contribution to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, $2,500 to Urban Green Lab, and $2,500 to Turnip Green Creative Reuse.
“One in eight Americans struggle with hunger,” said Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for Kroger. “As one of the largest grocery retailers in the country, we are committed to reducing food going to waste and getting wholesome food to people who need it.”
“In 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing on-the-ground approaches to addressing food waste,” said Linda Breggin, project coordinator for the Nashville Food Waste Initiative. “We throw away 40 percent of all food in this country; cities like Nashville can play a critical role in reducing the amount of food going to waste in America.”
About Mayor Megan Barry’s Livable Nashville Committee:
The Livable Nashville Committee is working to develop a shared vision for protecting and enhancing Nashville’s livability and environmental quality, with a goal of making Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast. Review the Committee’s draft recommendations around food waste and other sustainability strategies at: https://www.nashville.gov/Mayors-Office/Transportation-and-Sustainability/Livable-Nashville-Recommendations.aspx
About Metro’s Zero Waste Master Plan:
The Metro-Nashville Department of Public Works and the Davidson County Solid Waste Region Board are working to create a long-term Solid Waste Master Plan with the ultimate goal of achieving zero waste to landfill in the future. The Master Plan will evaluate both the municipal and countywide waste-management system, recommend options to improve and enhance the system, and increase Nashville’s waste reduction and diversion. Learn more at http://zerowaste.nashville.gov.
About the Nashville Food Waste Initiative:
In 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council –a leading environmental organization for scientists, lawyers, economists and other experts– selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing high-impact local policies and on-the-ground actions to address food waste. The Nashville Food Waste Initiative is developing strategies and practical tools to serve as models for cities around the country. To learn more, visit https://www.nrdc.org/issues/empower-cities-holistic-food-waste-reduction-strategies.
About Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative:
Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan is a national effort aimed at ending hunger in the communities Kroger calls home and eliminating waste across the company by 2025. Kroger’s visionary plan includes commitments in keeping with the company’s Purpose To Feed the Human Spirit.
About Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee:
Organized in 1978, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is not-for-profit organization whose mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community. Second Harvest distributes food and other products to approximately 490 nonprofit partner agencies in 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee. Partners include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, child care facilities, senior centers, group homes and youth enrichment programs. For more information, visit secondharvestmidtn.org.